Tuesday, July 13, 2010


My television mocks me every single day, and it isn't the programming. Exactly three hundred and seventy one days ago, after a month with no home phone and spotty cable reception (thanks to AT and T), we decided to go digital. Time Warner came out and took us to the next level. We couldn't be happier but,because we had been DirectTV customers since 2001 and had a TIVO loaded with kids programming, we decided not to get the cable part changed. The system still works fine. However,because DirectTV uses the phone lines to update their system and there is no longer a phone line, every time I turn on the tv, I get a message telling me to have the receiver make the call for the update.

It started out with " It has been 3 days since your receiver has placed a call for updates.Please make the call as soon as possible" or something to that effect. In the beginning it was sort of interesting.I would think,
 " oh, wow, has it been a week since we switched from AT and T?" Then the message would read " It has been 14 days..", and I would think, " wow, time sure flies- I could have read at least one those books that are staring me down on my night stand". At " It has been 31 days..." and I would think, "God, have I still not cleaned out the garage? After a month?". You get the idea. The TV,which used to be the ultimate escapist experience I could have at home, exclusive of psychedelic drugs, is now a daily reminder of my procrastination. For the last year,I have found myself at night, settling in on the couch with a full glass of wine in hand,ready to watch something. The kids are in bed.My pajamas are cottony comfy. The room is "neat enough". Something marvelous is awaiting me on Tivo. Then the blue screen pops up -"It's been 89 days", "It's been 97" days, "It's been 114" days, "It's been 164"days. Fucking technology....

Well, it hit the year mark six days ago, and I almost assaulted the screen.It really got me thinking about what exactly I have accomplished this year. This time last year, I was in Scotland.I was lucky enough to marry someone who loves to celebrate everything, and he planned a trip for my fortieth birthday,surprising me with both sisters who came along (one flew from Africa) and helped with the kids. It was an amazing trip, such that Little tells her teacher that we go to Scotland almost every weekend. Her teacher must think we have our own jet -or that our child is a pathological liar.

Aside from a few weekend trips here and there, some family getaways, some birthday parties and one or two lunches with girlfriends, I can't figure out what I did with my time. I am exactly the same size as I was last year,which really annoys me considering that I could be 120 pounds lighter given the time allotted and factoring in my age. I hiked here and there and made some excellent new friends, but we don't have time to hang out very much because we are all so, you know, busy doing stuff. What stuff I am not exactly sure, but there is,evidently,a lot of stuff to do.I just wish I could have something to show for the stuff I was supposedly doing.

I could have been ready for the Missoula, TN marathon that was this past weekend. Maybe flown in for the weekend and run my first marathon? I had enough time to train, but I didn't run outdoors once. I could have written my book, which continues to hover at the 18,000 word mark as I add and then remove stuff that simply can't be viewed by anyone,including me. I have been diligent enough with this blog, but it's gotten a little Andy Rooney for my taste, and I don't really like Andy Rooney all that much ( see what I mean?).

I realize that the issue is about commitment, which is an elusive state of mind. I am capable of it, I think. In high school, only twenty five years ago,I loved  doing plays.My "commitment" to the character was often held up as an example by my teacher of how one should approach a scene. But I could never translate that to practical use.With the exception of my  relationship with my husband, which hit the fourteen year mark in June, the minute someone tells me that I have to do something over and over and over again for weeks on end to achieve "results", I run. I always wrote my book reports and English papers the night before they were due. It could be considered a kind of self confidence, the assumption that I was a talented enough writer to pull it off. But I wasn't. I usually got a B minus or sometimes a C, but I always had the excuse that I hadn't really tried to back it up.I had a similar experience during the birth of my first child, when the expected epidural didn't come until I was six centimeters dilated. I imagined all of the women who had attended those Lamaze classes I'd snickered at, serenely breathing through their pain in some other birth room nearby while I cursed and writhed and gnashed my teeth.

I think the quality I am referring to is called "stick-to-it-ivenesse". Perseverance, tenacity,persistence. The ability to make a choice and stick with it. I know my kids have it because, when they want to watch television, they exhibit the kind of tenacity that drives most parents mad. I am not sure I have it. I really do admire people like Jared, who can eat Subway sandwiches for an entire year and not go ballistic one afternoon when they don't put enough pepperoncinis on his lite six inch dinner sub. Or Diana Nyad, who can swim from Florida to Cuba for 41.5 hours in her attempt to make history, only to fail and return thirty years later to try again. Or my friend Dotty, who,along with her husband, has been diligently doing the dreaded pX90 work out routine at home, every day for three weeks and for the next sixty nine days to come. I was so embarrassed at my solo attempt to complete the AB Ripper dvd on day one that I have yet to return to it.

Well, today is my birthday, and I am ready to make some changes. I began the day with an excruciating Bar Method class,which consists of constantly squeezing various muscles until they shake violently.I followed with a one hundred twenty minute relaxation deep tissue massage where a very large and solicitous woman caused me great pain on pretty much every part of my body. I am now home with the kids and awaiting an auntie who is coming to babysit so we can go out to dinner with some of the finest people we know. It has been a great day and I hope my warm and fuzzy feelings are a side effect of my emergent "stick-to-it-iveness".

In closing, since I have to find something to wear tonight that reflects the new me, I will mention this: According to the psychic Helga Stern, who I met in Ojai in 1994, I will publish a best seller when I am forty two.I have known this information for sixteen years and, as usual, I have waited until the eleventh hour. I have begun, but have miles to go and two very short years in which to complete the task. In an ideal world, I will go on my book tour eighteen months from now with the body of a teenager and the energy of a five year old. How will I do it? I guess I just I'll have to keep watching television for motivation.

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